Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12.1-3 NIV
The world we live in believes that how you play the game isn’t nearly as important as winning or losing.
God’s way is quite different.
In the end, He wins.
His disciples win.
It all comes down to how you play the game or, in this case, run the race.
The first thing we must do is cast off everything that hinders. God isn’t talking about sin here as that opening statement is followed with “and the sin that so easily entangles.” If I want to be a starter in this game (and I don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines, watching it all unfold – I’d rather be in on the action, thank you very much!), you need to cast off everything that holds you back from what God would have you become – the person you were created to be.
The things that hold me back differ from the things that hold you back.
These are the things that get in the way of what you feel you should be doing.
For instance, it used to be the four to six hours of television or movie time I used to put in every night. During that season of my life, I didn’t have the “time” to spend with Jesus each morning. Since then, I’ve chosen to spend an hour or two reading Christian literature or my Bible each evening, limiting my TV/movie intake and choosing to go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier. It took some discipline (it still does some days), but I did it.
I am doing it.
The fact that I’m most definitely not a night owl makes the going to bed earlier that much easier. What a perk! My mom even confirmed this weekend when I asked if I was that way as a kid. The answer: yep. From the time I was a baby, I was in bed by 8 PM and slept soundly until 5:30 the next morning. Like clockwork.
But if that was something that hindered me in the past, what is holding me back now?
A number of things:
- worry over finances has held me back from using what I do have for God’s glory
- a light case of depression has held me back from making healthy choices
- a past relationship that I have struggled to let go of has held me back from moving on and being open to receiving what God has for me right now
- and more I have yet to uncover, I’m sure.
Did you know that there is no rule in the book of life stating that you have to hold onto a relationship with an ex, even if they ask? You don’t. If it is something that stops you short of receiving God’s best, let it go. Release it.
He/She wasn’t yours to begin with.
Let it go. Release it.
No matter what that looks like – changing your number, deleting the contact from the phone, getting rid of all email/letter communication, putting photos away, stop using Facebook – do whatever it takes to let it go. You can’t move on if you don’t. I couldn’t. Some days I find that I can’t. So I’m letting go.
I’ve been getting a log of encouragement in that department from my mentors, many of my friends and Mandy Hale…a positive voice for single women. I have to take a moment to give thanks to God for a couple of my brothers who stood alongside me in removing all traces from my life, for the time being. Their actions make me appreciate and respect them even more – so, boys, if you’re reading this, thank you for being an encouragement in my walk with Jesus. You are appreciated, deeply respected and admired.
I am not less of a person because I don’t have the titles of girlfriend, wife or mother attached to my being.
I am me and that’s awesome.
I have Jesus and he’s all I need.
He is enough.
And because he is enough, I am enough.
I’m embracing it…or learning to.
The Holy Spirit’s message is clear: there is faith available – even that the size of a mustard seed – let go and go get it. Do whatever it takes to seek that faith, to have it and to hold onto it. Jesus, through the work of the Holy Spirit, can do that for you. He can help you overcome sin and cast off all that hinders.
I’m set to run the race before me. I don’t know what 2014 holds, but I do know who holds my life. Come rain or shine, I’m his. I’ll cling to him, I’ll strive to continue to do so, even as he reveals what he has for me and I know it’ll be better than anything I ever had planned or could dream up for my own life.
My prayer for you is that you choose to do the same. Enjoy the run!